Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Paul Coney | Colour In Your Life

Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Paul Coney | Colour In Your Life

G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Okay folks, well we are back in New Zealand again. Fantastic, love this country, love the people, and we’re at an area called the Manukau Peninsula. I got that right? (Paul) Yes, you did. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. And we’re with a very talented gentleman today, Mister Paul Coney. Paul, (Paul) How do you do? Nice to meet you. (Graeme) welcome to the show. Wonderful to be here. Now Paul’s work is really exceptional. I mean you look at Paul’s work you can see that he has spent literally hundreds of hours involved in what he does. Your work initiated really through dealing with depression when you were a kid. And it was the loss of your mum that this all come about. And your absolute fascination with nature. (Paul) Yeah, my mother died when I was about fifteen. It was quiet a protractive illness (Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) and I found it quite traumatising. I suppose you could say I didn’t deal with it. I coped with it, but I didn’t deal with it. So basically what did is I suppressed everything, every emotion I had about it, and I just carried on and put one foot in front of the other basically. When you do that I think we all know now that it takes it’s tool and these emotions don’t go away, and you end up getting very depressed, or end up with an anxiety disorder which is exactly what happened. (Graeme) But you did use, you used your work to a sort of a little bit like a phoenix. (Paul) Yes, absolutely. (Graeme) You rose out of that, yeah. (Paul) I did watercolours for probably over twenty years. I was absolutely fascinated with watercolours. and the techniques. You have to preconceive watercolours and the planning of them, strategies, etc, etc. But after twenty years I guess I started to feel a little bit stale with the medium and I wanted to change and do larger works basically. With watercolour you’re always a bit limited with size of the paper, (Graeme) With the size. (Paul) the framing,(Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) the glazing of the work it starts to get quite heavy for walls. (Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) Were canvas like this they’re light and they fit a modern interior really, yep. (Graeme) Well what we’re going to be doing today is that Paul works with photographing his wife and his grandkids. I mean lives in a beautiful area right down near the beaches. I love your water scenes. This delightful Chantilly with the young lady in it going down to the surf, and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing today. We’re going to be going your beautiful wife (Paul) Yep. (Graeme) and your granddaughter in a beach scene. I’m going to step out of shot and I’m going to let Paul make a start and we’ll discuss a whole bunch of things as we go through. But really, really talented guy; you’re going to be quite amazed. (Paul) The first thing I do when I start a painting is I try and sort out which colours I’m going to use. I always use a limited palette as I find this helps with matching the colours. Maybe at a later date if you have to reapply something on top. So the colours I’m going to use today is Colbert Blue, and I’ll put the Colbert Blue here. I set out my palette the same way pretty much every time. I have blues and cooler colours this side. I have over here which I can make a dark out of, and I have warmer colours this side. I usually have two whites as well. One for the cooler colours, one for the warmer colours. Cause I find once you get if you get a little spot of blue and white, and you use yellow the whole thing turns green, so it’s better to seperate them. I like to set out and mix all my colours before I start so I don’t need to do that in the middle of a painting. Okay, I’m now going to mix up some paint. So I’ve got my palette knife and I’ll do some darks first. So a bit of the blue, I can see I’m going to use this for the shadows, so I want a kind of neutral dark that will turn into a grey. It’s hard to see what the actual colour of it while it’s so dark, but if we get a little bit of white and mix it in you can see that’s turned out a relatively neutral grey, perhaps a bit on the blue side, but that’s okay. The cardigan’s brown on Marietta. So I’m going to make a browner version of this as well, and again do a bit of a tonal range of it. (Graeme) Now you’ve got an amazing piece that you’ve done called Albert Park Fountain, and it’s a magnificent piece, of one of your florals are something that you’re very famous for. And also a piece called Cardinal de Richelieu. The one thing that you do find fascinating is water drops, and reflections in what water actually does. And you can see in this piece the water actually over the flowers is quite amazing. (Paul) I do love water as an added element into my paintings. I love all the effects of water. The reflections, the highlights you get with water, the refractions of light you can get with water into the shadow. I really feel it a adds another dimension to any scene. (Graeme) It’s amazing, absolutely. (Paul) Okay, now I’m going to put the first tonal values on. I’ll grab my mahl stick which I always work with, and I think I’ll start with the darker tones in Marietta’s cardigan. So I’m just getting about the right tonal value, and I just start putting the darker tones in like this in the shadow of Marietta’s cardigan. Now everything on this side of Marietta is pretty much in shadow, so I’m putting the darker bits on first. But shadows are quite interesting things, because you get reflected light back into them. You get lots of colour changes, and basically I’m just trying to get some folds in first quickly. (Graeme) It looks like a pretty flexible brush you’ve got there as well? (Paul) Yeah, these are just soft brushes, they’re just nylon brushes. And actual in fact shadow is usually, I find it’s quite continuous so I don’t stop where it changes like I’m doing shadow on the hair now, but really it’s not that different from shadow on the coat where it’s dark, it’s dark basically. Shadow just falls indiscriminately on everything; it doesn’t pick and choose. (Graeme) That oils running out quite effectively. What… are you using a medium? (Paul) Yep, I basically use I like Liquin as a product. (Graeme) Aha. (Paul) Liquin – it helps the paint come off the brush quite easily. It’s fast drying and it holds the paint together I think, so the paint doesn’t flake or whatever. But it’s nice to use. (Graeme) I’m just looking at this piece called Champagne on Ice, and there’s very, very few dark spots in there but there’s so much shape and texture. And there’s virtually no dark colours except on two edges. (Paul) I wanted that painting to have quite a sort of potpourri feel, a very pet-ally fee. And the softness of the roses, I wanted to bring out the softness of the rose petals. Now here quite often on shadows you get reflected light. So I can see a little bit of grey happening in terms of reflected light back onto the cardigan. So again I’m swapping to a smaller brush and I’m going to go to a tonal value of grey here, and just put it in where I see that reflected light happening. (Graeme) Now you do, do a lot of commissions as well. (Paul) Yeah. I like doing commissions very much. (Graeme) Yeah, cause you work with the client. There’s one particular piece which I think is a really great piece. It’s called Greg’s Family, and you’ve basically got this gentleman and his whole family working on the car outside a shed. They all know who they are. But what a fantastic approach for a different idea for a portrait. (Paul) Yeah, well I feel that it encapsulated more than just a portrait. It encapsulated Greg and the character of his family and the character of his life. (Graeme) Yes. (Paul) He’s a dairy farmer and it just showed like the farm sheds. Greg was a very keen mechanic, was proud of his Douge car too, which he’d worked on and brought up to scratch. So that was featured in the painting as well. Okay, so what I’ll do now is just move the easel up a little bit, and with this easel it’s just a matter of lifting it and changing where the dales are. It’s very easy. A friend of mine made this for me, and I find it much easy than quite a lot of other quite complicated easels which you can buy. (Graeme) The easier the better, yeah. (Paul) So with the flesh tone, I’ll just do a bit on the leg here, on Marietta’s leg. I’ve mixed up some flesh tones and how I’ll start is I’ll put in this bit of the shadow here which is called, it’s normally called the core shadow. And it’s usually a little bit darker than the rest of the shadow, because it’s not really receiving any reflected light back into it. It’s a band that kind of goes down the join of where the shadow meets the light. And I’ve got a general rule of saying it’s usually darker where the shadow meets the light, which is the core shadow. (Graeme) That’s correct. (Paul) Yep. (Graeme) So you generally start your paintings directly onto a white canvas? (Paul) Yeah, I normally, I normally do. Some landscapes it’s a good idea to put down a ground colour if that colour appears, or that tone appears quite often. But normally I just like starting on white, yep. (Graeme) You’ve got another piece here called Creme de Cream, another beautiful floral piece. What was the motivation for when you really started to do the florals? (Paul) I do love doing the florals. I like the detail in them, all the different textures. So here we’ve got the highlight in the middle of the light form there. So I’ll just use a little bit of brighter, slightly brighter white there, and just do that down the middle. And then because its flesh of course things need to be softened a little bit again. (Graeme) I noticed that you were drying the brush. It’s important to get the oil and paint out when you do that. (Paul) Yeah, I wipe my brush quite often, or all that happens is I start spreading excess paint around that I don’t really want to. Okay, so now I’m moving on to the slightly deeper shadow of this other leg. Putting the darker bits in first, and working my way down. A little bit of core shadow there again as it goes over the ankle and heel. And of course warming and lightening a little bit as we move over to the middle of the leg here. (Graeme) And you’ve also over the last thirty years, and you’ve been painting for forty years, but you also do classes and workshops for people as well. And you’ve got your studio and your home set up for people anywhere in the world, that can come in and spend time with you here in this beautiful area, and learn from you, and your very talented wife Marietta, as well, who’s a brilliant artist. So if somebody wanted to come in and possibly flying out from somewhere across the world. What’s your website address again, Paul? (Paul) It’s Paul Coney dot co dot nz. (Graeme) It’s something that you and Marietta have been putting together, and obviously having people from all over the world come in and spend time with you while you teach them these techniques. I think as well, it’s such a beautiful area that you live in. (Paul) Yeah, it’s very picturesque here. (Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) We’re close to the beach. It’s quite a dramatic landscape really. Lots of things to paint here. Okay, so I’ll move just on to the refection of this leg as well. With reflections, they can either be absolutely perfect reflections where you can turn the whole painting upside down, and there wouldn’t be any difference. Here you’ve got the shape of the leg being distorted quite a lot. There’s all sorts of things that happen with reflections. There’s no kind of set rule I don’t think. I think that should do with the reflections at this point. (Graeme) It looks fantastic. What we can do now, is we can move on to the other piece that you’ve prepared, so we’ll move onto the next one. (Paul) Yep. Sure. (Paul) Now I’ve got a slightly greyed blue which I’m going to start with a tonal range. And some of the sand has got just soft almost wrinkles in it which I’m going to start put in first. What I’m doing is called negative imaging. You do it in watercolour too, where you can paint dark around lighter tonal values. With this oil because it’s a covering medium, I’m actually painting lighter tones around the darker toner value of the reflection. And I can actually cut right into the reflection if I want to with these lighter tones. Basically I’m just putting bands of colour on first, and then I’ll blend some of them. (Graeme) Just looking at the piece called Dappled Lillies, and you can see why there’s painstaking amounts of time that goes into these pieces of yours, cause they’re quite amazing. But the colour contrast and how you actually put your composition together is quite amazing as well. (Paul) What I go for is the light and particularly the shadow amongst foliage. You get so many variations in the shadows, so many shapes. And to me, shadow is what gives the sunlight life almost. It brings the whole painting to life. Now this next piece actually is a watercolour I think you did a while back called Michaela and Poppies, but an absolutely beautiful piece, it really is. (Paul) Yeah, that was when Michaela, one of my daughters was about three years old. With the poppies I’ve enlarged them, so that it gives you the sense of the poppies being right in front of your face. And that in fact lends intimacy to whole, to the whole scene. You can really feel you’re in amongst the poppies there. (Graeme) In 1997 you were actually the offical artist for the defence of when Australia ll, I think it was, was actually racing against you guys for the America’s Cup. And New Zealand won the cup of Australia, and you basically painted the yacht called Kiwi Magic. (Paul) Yeah, I was asked to do two paintings of KZ 7 was the yacht. We did a limited edition run of five hundred prints each which sold very, very well. And that was a good break for me. (Graeme) Yeah, gone in leaps and bounds since them – no two ways about it. (Paul) Yeah, thank you, Graeme. (Graeme) You’ve got to a stage with this one where we’re probably going to be able to move on to the next piece that you’ve got, and do a couple of techniques in that one as well. (Paul) Okay. (Paul) Now I want to do a nice clear sky that’s graduated from one colour to another colour, and from a slightly lighter tone to a slightly darker tone. So I’ve mixed up the two colours and two tones and I’m going to do what’s called a saw tooth drawing. Which is probably the best way I know of getting a very slow graduation through, and a very even graduation. So the first thing I need to do I’ll get the darker tone, which is a blue, again a Colbert Blue which we’ve been using right the way through, and I’m just going to quickly draw in the teeth. (Graeme) Like a saw. (Paul) Yep. (Graeme) So what other artists actually use this particular technique? (Paul) To be honest with you I’m not sure. (Graeme) Okay. (Paul) I must have picked it up from somewhere and it works extremely well. The longer the teeth the slower the graduation. (Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) The shorter the teeth, obviously it becomes more sudden. Right, now I’ll flatten the blue basically (Graeme) Yes. (Paul) so it’s a solid, they’re all solid masses. The only difficulty that you can have with this is when I’m getting close to the hair here. I need to do some horizontal brush work which sometimes can go over the hair, but I mean being oil we can easily fix that up at a later date. (Graeme) Yeah, apart from all the florals you do, your figurative works pretty amazing as well. And there’s one here called Silk n Surf, which is sort of where we’re heading, it’s a similar type of picture. But you can see that the sunlight… This is one of your beautiful daughters. (Paul) Michaela’s my eldest daughter, and that’s an antique dress I think and it has silk and satin in it. Now I find the sky quite often if I’m outside or driving in the car, and I look at the sky, I quite often see at the bottom of the sky it goes slightly yellow. I find it really lifts the sky if you can have a lighter tone and a warmer tone coming into the blue. Now what I do is I’m going to use a filbert brush. It’s a soft brush but it is quite firm as well, so it will push the paint. And I’m going to push it with a horizontal motion that has to be continuous and methodical. So I’m just pushing it going upwards horizontally in a very even way. (Graeme) Great technique. (Paul) Okay, now you can do the same thing down as well. (Graeme) So these are just some of the techniques you teach at your workshops? (Paul) Yeah, these are just a few. There are many, many ways of kind of approaching a painting and how to look at a scene and decide how you’re going to go about actually doing the painting. (Graeme) Yeah. (Paul) As you can see there are still a few little streaks there. Now I found over time the best thing, the best way to blend and get rid of those streaks is just with your finger. So just make sure the end of your finger is clean. And then very lightly and probably not horizontally now, do it kind of in a diagonal motion. Just very lightly skim the surface of the paint like that. (Graeme) And also one of the galleries galleries that you deal with in New Zealand in Aukland, is the International Art Centre that has some very prestigious artists in there – you being one of them of course. (Paul) I started with the international Art Centre in I think the mid to late eighties, and I’ve been selling my work there pretty much ever since for probably over thirty years now. (Graeme) Well we’ve had an absolutely fantastic day with you Paul – you’re work is amazing. An incredibly talented man, I think that the rest of the world will be amazed when they see you as well. (Paul) Thank you, Graeme. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you and Sophia here. (Graeme) Alright, fantastic day with an amazing man, very, very talented. Went through some processes today which was great. To end up with amazing results like this it’s just wonderful. Paul, thank you so much. (Paul) Absolute pleasure. (Graeme) It was a great day, it really was. You website address again is? (Paul) Paul Coney dot co dot nz. (Graeme) So if you want to come in and have a look at what Paul’s doing, and also enquire about his workshops. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you want to travel to the beautiful islands of New Zealand, it’s a fantastic area. Beautiful scenery. Paul and his darling wife have got their home set up specifically for that, so come in and make an enquiry, come in and see Paul. Come and see us on Facebook, YouTube. And if you want some other information come in to colour in your life dot com dot au, and we’ll see you in there as well. But thanks again, and all the way from New Zealand – remember: make sure you put some colour in your life. Until we see you next time guys, bye now. Bye.

63 thoughts on “Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Paul Coney | Colour In Your Life



  3. I respect Paul Coney for his professionalism and tremendous skill he shows in each piece he created. Heโ€™s also very kind to support a rural art show by being there and letting his masterpieces hanging on our humble little theatre (if you remember Onewhero, Paul-God bless you) walls that I just couldnโ€™t take my eyes off! Iโ€™ve learned a lot more today, Graeme, thank you for this feature of one of our greatest artists in NZ. Arohanui.-E.J

  4. Wow! Mr.Cony is the most amazing artist Iโ€™ve ever seen! Thanks so much for sharing his beautiful work. I am seventy years old and have always loved painting, his work is , by far, the most wonderful I have ever seen!

  5. What amazing details in the flowers absolutely stunning dancing with colour,breathtaking,sawtooth technique is great.

  6. Wow….I don't know enough superlatives to give this work the credit it deserves! Amazing is an understatement for sure. Thank you so much Graham and Paul for a very entertaining 24 minutes.

  7. This little corner of 'the rest of the world' (North East England) is, indeed, suitably impressed. Thank you

  8. Nice video as always Graeme!! I just wish I'd seen Mr. Coney painting more of the figures. That would be great! Thank you both!Greetings from Brasil!

  9. Hi Paul, I follow your work on Instagram and was thrilled to see you on this brilliant show. Thanks to Graeme for having you on. Thanks also Paul for all the wonderful tips, especially the 'tooth' technique. How clever! Delighted to have 'met ' you at last as I think you deserve every success and may you continue your work for a long time to come.

  10. I love this artist. Thank you for bringing him to color in your life. He's really amazing what the darks and the lights.

  11. Graeme thank you very much for introducing this wonderful artist. I do much enjoyed watching his session and learned a lot within the half hour. Thank you ๐Ÿ™ both. From Glasgow Scotland ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ

  12. Wow, stunning work, such detail and the light that you capture in your pictures itย is trulyย astounding. Love your tip for blending sky's, will definitely give that a go. Thanks for sharing your art and techniques, pure pleasure to watch.ย I wish you all the best for your future ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I can identify closely with how you construct this wonderful painting as I am currently working on a beach scene. So much to learn from this, shadows, warm tone coming into blue sky, brushstrokes, gradation. And that tip on two whites. Beautiful! Thank you.

  14. Very incredible work. Love the details of the floral paintings, especially Champagne on Ice. Paul really does excellent work. ๐ŸŽจ๐Ÿ‘

  15. I have just found your channel. I'm from uk England. What a wonderful video. Paul's work is stunning. Kind of reminds me of British stately home gardens. Wonderful. Just beautiful.

  16. Paul's paintings are absolutely breathtaking! The details….especially the one of his older daughter and the sea….amazing!!

  17. You certainly have shown many wonderful scenic shots of just some of the wonderful moments captured within this video. Life should be full of many magical snapshots like this. A tremendous gift to each of us was presented from each of you! Thank you Paul ; and Graeme from Philadelphia, Pa. U.S.A . All best wishes.

  18. Probably the best episode ever. Paul, Sir, your work is on another level completely. Stunning work. I learned a lot about your process and I've never seen the graduated sky technique before. It's motivated me to do some more oils. Well done to the team, especially Graeme, for putting this brilliant programme together.

  19. Wonderful work, great technique, love to watch full video, I just wanted to see how Paul draw the straw hat and the waves. but the video was cut short.

  20. (this is from Li, Not dave). You truly are a massively gifted artist. But why do you actually always paint everyone from behind? Curious. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. What a blessing to' see a master artist paint. I am so blown away by his work. I hope I can paint at least close to this. I always use acrylics and this has inspired me to use oils. Thank you so much.

  22. One of the most informative episodes and fascinating to watch. Could you lost the colours you used i hear a couple but struggle with skin tone. Thanks

  23. WOW what breathtakingly beautiful works of art, and Paul seems like a lovely man. I love the show and have been watching from the very beginning and the talent just grows and grows, colour in your life does an amazing job and I always look forward to each new episode. Thank you Paul for sharing your amazing talent it was a pleasure to watch you work. Cheers Mel.

  24. Excelente canal! Vou ter que aprender inglรชs para aproveitar o mรกximo.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  25. stunning, what do you use to sketch it out with first…I thought it was pencil but thought you couldn't use pencil under oil painting cause it will show through?

  26. Oh man, isn't Paul Talented!:) A wonderful episode of Put colour in your life. thanks for the tips Paul. Paul's work reminds me of Steven Hanks..RIP

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